Blindfolding - RKC

[From Robert K. Clark (491-2499)]

Bill Powers & Bruce Nevin

Sorry to be slow to respond. Other activities have had priority.
Hope to improve as I get some of these responsibilities better

Powers comment about "blindfolding" the people at the dinner table
makes the "social control system disappear." But this only applies if
the person "cares" what the others think of him. Key questions, I
suggest are: "Where" is the control system? What is the nature of
the "perceived variable(s)" that is (are) controlled? These answers,
and perhaps others, are needed to define the System.

If a "Social Control System" exists, it seems to me that a single
controllable variable should be identifiable. Composed, undoubtedly
of a combination of many (lower order?) variables. Interrupting some
of the channels carrying these variables may be expected to change an
individual's activities. But WHERE is this System? and what and
where are its Reference Levels?

For a different example of a Social Control System you might consider
my discussion of a temperature control system when modern thermostats
had not been invented. (See 'STATS VS CRUISE CONTROL, posted Jan 31)
That discussion was intended to point out that familiar situations
can be regarded as involving a combination of control systems. Such
a shift of viewpoint can be quite interesting.

I plan to offer some other ways of analyzing hierarchical arrays of
control systems. These will generally resemble our original
concepts, but with modifications that I find useful.



Bruce Nevin -- blindfolding breaks the loop

Generally, I agree with you. Several questions are raised by your
suggestion, "we don't need all the complexity of hierarchical control
to model a human being conforming to a social norm . . . a person
seems to emulate an ECS ("elementary"?) controlling a perceptual
signal." Perhaps, but how is that "perceptual signal" generated? And
how is the set of inputs composing that same "perceptual signal"
selected over time? I find the hierarchical structure very helpful
in interpreting such complex situations.

Regards, Bob Clark